How to Winterize Bergenia


Bergenia are a hardy genus of perennial plants belonging to the saxifrage family and are commonly known as elephant ears. They are native to the cold climes of Russia and China and are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. Bergenia are grown for their evergreen glossy foliage and for their spring flowers that bloom in hues of white, pale pink, cerise or red. Bergenia are low growing plants that reach roughly 18-inches in height at maturity. Coupled with its clumping growth habit, bergenia is often chosen for use as a ground cover plant in borders, beds and as naturalized underplantings for trees and shade gardens.

Step 1

Plant your bergenia in a location where it will be protected from harsh winter winds that can dry out the plant and damage the foliage.

Step 2

Mulch around the base of your bergenia each fall with shredded bark or cocoa bean hulls. Mulching has a four-fold benefit: It will keep moisture in the soil, protect the roots and crown from cold, keep competitive weeds at bay and deter slugs from being able to easily reach the plant leaves, which they consider a delicacy.

Step 3

Water deeply in the fall before frost to bolster the plant and roots against winter drought conditions. If you experience an unusually dry winter season, supplement rainfall with irrigation so that they sol around your bergenia does not dry out. Hold off on fertilizing in the fall and winter and resume your regular regimen in the spring.

Step 4

Cut back any damaged or dying foliage in the fall and again in the spring to prevent the invitation of disease and keep your bergenia plants looking healthy and tidy.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Organic mulch
  • Water


  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • North Carolina State University
  • Washington State University
Keywords: bergenia, elephant ear, overwinter protect mulch

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.